Grace Applequist, a senior at Elyria Christian School, recently won a silver medal for drawing in the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

Grace Applequist, a senior at Elyria Christian School, recently won a silver medal for drawing in the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.
This is a national contest in which students grades seven through 12 can submit art and writing samples to be judged. Almost 255,000 works were submitted this year.
For Applequist, the award was a culmination of a lifetime of practice.
“When I was younger, my sisters took art classes, and my mom’s a creative person,” Applequist said. “Seeing their work, I thought it was cool.”
Applequist said she would doodle while she was growing up, filling page after page with drawings.
“I have sketchbooks from kindergarten filled with drawings,” Applequist said. “I drew every moment I got a chance.”
Applequist first entered contests in seventh grade, the first year art classes were available at Elyria Christian School.
“The only competitions I could enter were county contests,” Applequist said. “I started winning awards almost immediately.”
Applequist stuck with the art program to compete in the Wheat State League, which includes Little River and Goessel, and state contests.
She first entered the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in 2013 with two pieces, one of which was accepted after winning a gold key award.
This year, she submitted four pieces, winning a gold key, a silver key and two honorable mentions. Her piece “Flower of Zimbabwe” advanced to the national competition, where in claimed a silver medal.

Unlikely ally
Applequist said she prefers working with charcoal, though this wasn’t always the case.
“I hated it for a long time,” Applequist said. “Now it’s the primary medium I use.”
Applequist said she likes how well charcoal will blend as well as its ‘classy’ look.
“I really love the contrast of the black and white,” Applequist said. “I love how they look together.”
Other favored mediums include colored pencil and acrylic paint.
Applequist said she also enjoys photography, which she’s been doing since seventh grade. She has won awards at the league level for her photography.

Work in progress
Lori Martin-Price, art teacher at Elyria Christian School, said she’s worked hard to expand the art program so students like Applequist can have more opportunities to learn and develop artistic skills. The school currently offers five classes in grades seven through 12 as well as weekly art lessons for kindergarten through sixth grade.
“Her work is progressing more toward photorealistic as she gets better,” Martin-Price said. “Like with any student, I encourage her in what she strives to be best at. If they’re interested in one area, I’ll show them how to constantly improve.”
One of her methods is to never give an assignment a perfect grade. This helps students understand that their work can always be better.
“There’s always something you can change,” Martin-Price said. “I encourage them to look for more detail. It makes it more interesting.”

“God's image”
Applequist said what she likes most about art is that it helps her express things she can’t put into words.
“I really like that I can express all the thoughts and feelings I have through art,” Applequist said. “I like how someone else can enjoy it, too.”
Applequist said she prefers to portray people in her artwork, rather than scenery. She said her Christian background and beliefs influence the way she looks at people.
“I don’t like landscapes because I don’t see the art,” Applequist said. “I like what people represent. It’s God’s image. It’s amazing how exquisite and beautiful people are.”